Reccomended/Approved Small Group Curricula

One of the things I’ve been working at doing, as small group director for Fellowship Church, is create a list of approved and reccomended curricula for our small groups to use. 

These resources were chosen because they tend to be interactive and application oriented, and they avoid unnecesarily divisive issues that will create more problems than they solve.   These resources are arranged under 3 different categories.  These categories correspond to the 3 vital relationships we are pursuing and the 3 of the key values of our small groups.  (Each of the relationships corresponds to a value so there are only 3 categories, not 6.)

Overall, the expectation is that a group has participated in atleast one resource from each of the categories each year.  With the time remaining in that year. the challenge I’d like to lay out to small group leaders is this: spend more time in the areas where you believe your group needs the most help, not in areas that you are naturally gifted and aware in.  This isn’t always fun but it’s so important…

I’d also like to encourage strategic, varied decisions around the length of the studies and the format.  If you’ve just finished a long book, spend a couple week doing short-video driven studies.  On the other hand, if you’re entering a time in the calendar after a period when attendance is tough, take on something more in depth that might renew group cohesion.  (For example, if attendance has been spotty over the Summer, once the school year resumes, jump into something longer and in-depth.)

In the interest of length, I omitted synopsis of these materials.  I have included links to the web pages of materials that have them.  Use these sites are other resources such as Amazon to get a synopsis of books you are unfamiliar with.  Or simply ask me or someone else.  Virtually all of these resources have been used by one small group or another.  In fact, extra copies of some of these materials are around.  Check in with me on this if you have any questions.

The last thing I want to say before I print the list is PLEASE HELP!

If you have ideas from your own reading, or items that I forgot that were on previous lists I’ve circulated, please let me know.  Remember, our 2 biggest criteria are relevance/applicabality and docrtinally sound/not unnecesarily devisive.

Though I’ll leave comments below, I will also incorporate approved suggestions into this list.

Small Group Leaders: If you’re using resources not on this list please check them with me before you purchase them.  It’s really important that all the small groups are on the same page in terms of the sorts of things we’re learning.

Intimacy with God/ Transformation

Blue Like Jazz -Don Miller

A book

Author website including study questions: http://www.donaldmillerwords.com/resources.php

 

Bible 101 Small Group study Guides

 Series of 6 session studies on the following topics: Foundations; Times & Places; Cover to Cover; Study Method; Interpretation; Parables & Prophecy, Great Themes;  Personal Devotions by Willow Creek

Website: http://www.willowcreek.com/group.asp?groupid=56

 

Nooma: (most of the Noomas deal most directly with Intimacy with God/Transformation.  If they are more directly related to the other topics they are listed below.)

DVD series featuring Rob Bell & Discussion questions

Website with brief clips & discussions:  http://www.nooma.com

Each nooma is a stand-alone, one-week study

 

Purpose Driven Life a book by Rick Warren

Website: http://www.purposedrivenlife.com/en-US/Home/home.htm

Video-tape video components; countless study guides, workbooks, and devotionals available.

 

I became a Christian and all I got was this lousy T-shirt by Vincent Antonucci

Book,

Website: http://lousytshirtbook.com includes discussion questions, illustration videos, activities, song lists, etc.

 

Velvelt Elvis by Rob Bell

Book

 

Siezing your Divine Moment

Erwin McManus

Book

 

This Beautiful Mess by Rick McKinley

book

 

Influence With Outsiders/Outward Reaching

 

Under the Overpass: A Journey of Faith on the Streets of America
By: Mike Yankoski

A book

Author website including discussion questions, video, testimonies etc:

http://www.undertheoverpass.com/uop/home.php

 

Nooma: Bullhorn; Rich

DVD featuring Rob Bell & Discussion questions

Website with brief clips & discussions:  http://www.nooma.com

 

Just Walk Across the Room by Bill Hybels

Website: http://www.justwalkacrosstheroom.com/

Book includes discussion questions; there are also independent study guides with different questions, and a DVD component to this.

 

Case for Christ by Less Strobel

Book with discussion questions, a movie based on the book is also available

Website: leestrobel.com includes newsletter, blog, videos, etc.

 

Community With Believers/Authenticity

Crave: Intimacy

DVD featuring a short film and observations by Irwin McManus with study questions

 

Crave: Meaning

DVD featuring a short film and observations by Irwin McManus with study questions.

(A stand alone study; might be combined with the other 2 in the Crave series)

 

Nooma: Flame; Mathew, Name

DVD featuring Rob Bell & Discussion questions

Website with brief clips & discussions:  http://www.nooma.com

 

40 Days of Community By Rick Warren

a video curricula and study guide

website: purposedriven.com

 

Sex God By Rob Bell

Some discussion questions are included in the end notes.

 

Epic by John Eldridge

Book, film available with discussion questions

More resources: http://www.epicreality.com/author_story.html#top

 

 

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jeffsdeepthoughts

The stories that speak to our soul begin at a home where things are good. Cinderella is happy with her father. The three little pigs have grown up and are ready to move on. Bilbo Baggins knows his shire. Adam and Eve walk with God in the garden. My story isn’t much different. There was a time and a place where it was so good. There was a community for me. And there was joy. We were filled with a sincere desire to do what God wanted us to do. We possessed explanations and understandings that went a certain distance. We offered security and tradition and laughter. For a lot of years, that was enough. I have this sense that it was also necessary. I have this surety, now, that it certainly wasn’t everything. There were some things that became increasingly problematic as time went by. There was a desire to package things up so very neatly. Sunday morning services were efficient and strategic. Responses to differences of opinion were premeditated. Formula began to feel more important than being real. A real desire for everybody to be one of us, but also a real sense that there is an us, and there is a them. They carried a regret that it has to be this way, but deeper than this regret was a surety that this is how it is. I began to recognize that there was a cost of admission to that group. There were people who sat at the door, collecting it. Those people wished they didn’t have to. But I guess they felt like they did have to. They let some people in, and they left others out. There was a provisional membership. My friends did possess a desire to accommodate people that are different… But it would be best for everyone concerned if they were only a little bit different. I did make many steps forward in this place. Before I went there, there were lies that I believed. Some of the things that I learned there, I still hold on to. But that place is not my home anymore. Those people are not my community anymore. There were times it was hard. I am engaged in a different community now. And I am working hard at finding a place in many different places now, embracing many different kind of families. I don’t always get it right. I am trying and I am learning and I am moving foreward. I have this sense that I am not alone in these experiences. I believe that we are tribe and we are growing. We are pilgrims, looking for a new holy land. Perhaps we won’t settle on the same spot of land. But if you’ve read this far, I am thinking that we are probably headed in the same general direction. I have begun this blog to talk about where my journey is taking me. In every space, we find people who help us along. And maybe we can get to know each other, here. We embrace ideas that provide a structure for the things we believe, and perhaps we can share these too. Maybe we can form a group, a tribe, a community, if we can figure out a way to work through the shadow of these kinds of groups, if we can bigger than the us-and-them ideas that have caused so much trouble in the past. As important as they are, I think the very nature of online interactions will lend itself to something equally powerful. I am stumbling onto these practices that my grandfathers and great grandfathers in the faith engaged in. I am learning about these attitudes and intuitions are so different than the kinds of things we call doctrine today. I don’t know about you, but I am running out of patience, and even interest, in conversations about doctrine. I hope that maybe you’ll share a little something about where your journey is taking you, and maybe our common joys and challenges might help each other along, and we might lift each other up. Thanks for doing this journey with me.

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